By Rebecca Davis
Help is at hand to start flexing your brain and getting the creative juices flowing for your next ideation session.
There is a glimpse of Spring in the air, removing the shackles of winter and welcoming in the new; the perfect time for strategic planning for many businesses. It heralds new shoots, new campaigns, and new products. And some bright spark shouts “We need some new product ideas, who’s free for an ideation session?” Do these words make you freeze? How will you get those creative juices flowing?
Over the past 12 months it’s been harder to get creative, and our work environments don’t help; same view, same desk, same room. With this repetition, comes routine and familiarity which is ultra-comforting to us in the middle of a pandemic, but not so stimulating when you need to get creative.
As marketers, we spend a vast amount of time problem solving, analysing and engaging our left brain. Whilst our right brain, the creative side, is left to wallow. It’s an under-used muscle.
But if the pandemic has shown us one thing, being agile, flexing both our left and right brain will give us a more holistic skillset and an advantage over others. This agility will be the key to a business’s long-term success.
Take the hospitality sector for example, where traditional outlets pivoted so quickly into offering their customers meal kits and take-outs during lockdown. These new revenue streams not only contribute towards paying their overheads to keep them afloat for now but also play a valuable role in remaining top of mind with their consumers and building brand relevance. Brands such as Gaucho, Leon and Dirty Bones will now be in pole position to emerge from this recession ahead of their competitors.
The good news is, you’re probably already flexing both sides of your brain.
Consider how you use both a logical (left brain) and a creative (right brain) approach to a strategic challenge such as competitor growth;
- you use logical data to understand what’s driving this
- but you will also consider the consumers’ creative engagement with their brand to formulate your understanding.
So, your next step is to get this flexing of both sides of your brain into a daily routine…
those creative juices will then be readily flowing by the next time you need to build some new product ideas, brainstorm some social media stories or draft a blog.
Here are our 5 tips to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Act like a creative
How many times have you walked into a photo shoot or design agency and instantly, the mood and ambience feels like a soup pot of creativity. The music, the workspaces, the imagery, even what people are wearing all change the way you think.
So act like a creative, think about how you can dress up your workspace and get on some music.
I have a playlist called ‘Inspire’ which I frequently add to, choosing off the beaten track songs which instantly change my mood and get me into a different creative space.
2. Find the 5 year old inside you
As Albert Einstein once said, “To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play.”
As we move into adulthood, we become more rational in our thinking, dismissing ideas and halting ideas we would have before explored into weird and wild directions.
So, bring out your five year old; get on the floor and start drawing an imaginary world or begin doodling, see where it takes you. Include words as well as images.
Don’t be afraid, only you will see it. It’s about letting go of any rational thinking for 10 minutes. By taking yourself out of your comfort zone, it will help you confront imperfectionism. Fear of failure can be one of the biggest inhibitors of creative juice flow. Let’s face it, no one comes up with a winning idea first time, it can take hours, days, weeks!
And if you have children, I can highly recommend getting them involved in your brainstorming and creative sessions playing word association or coming up with brand names can bring surprising results!
Just as music can change our moods and emotions, so too can images.
I am forever tearing out articles from magazines and newspapers of useful trends, images and pictures I find inspiring. Or underlining phrases from books which I find poignant.
So now I collect them all in my trusted scrapbook. Yes, it’s a bit geeky, but there is something cathartic about collecting these nuggets which mean something to me and they are wealth of inspiration.
4. Blogs & Podcasts
Now these are my friend when I need to think more laterally and switching off from structured problem-solving.
Choose a topic completely unrelated to your business problem or creative challenge. (I can highly recommend top 20 insane hairstyles inspired by dogs for some visual stimulation.)
Or have a few podcasts saved ready to change your thought patterns; comedies, interviews or an audiobook.
This is all about disruption and change. Embrace it.
5. Practice, fail, practice, fail, practice…. succeed
As with mastering fractions as a 9 year old, or learning to ride a bike, you’ll make mistakes, but you will get better. Each time you want to engage your right brain, it will get easier and quicker, and soon you will learn your own shortcuts.
My advice is to do these exercises as much as you would exercise your body, flex those brain muscles and they WILL get stronger. A well-used muscle is stronger and has a memory. It will remember how to perform each time you want some creative juice and will get better at it each time. So put some time aside several times a week and flex your muscles.
But if all else fails and you think you could do with some help in getting the whole team’s creative juices flowing, or someone else to run an ideation session for you so that your can brain muscle can be fully engaged in idea generation, we can help.
Take a look at our idea generation package or contact me, Rebecca Davis at ku.oc.sdnarbhcaer@ofni, I’d love to help.
Rebecca Davis is a Reach collaborator who leads our Innovation team. She is an NPD consultant who offers support for the full new product development process from analysis of consumer and market trends, insight discovery, idea generation and crafting concepts through to launch.